Trendspot: Sense of purpose, vintage age, nomadic

Hannah Curtis, managing director of Creative Sparrow, shares her trend predictions


Artist agencies are not just a great source of imagery for greeting card publishers but, due to their wide reach into other fields, are also an invaluable gauge of design trends and influences on the aesthetic pulse of the nation.

In the latest of a series, Hannah Curtis, managing director of Creative Sparrow, shares what she feels will be driving our design tastes and highlights a trio of trends.

Above: Hannah Curtis
Above: Hannah Curtis

Drivers: “It’s no surprise to be talking about the growing rise of shopping local, the move away from huge corporate entities in favour of local pop-ups, collaborating with smaller, more innovative and ethical companies that speak direct to the consumer. The pandemic has had a profound effect on the way we behave, a world of relying on the increasing digital demand, but also embracing the personal one-to-one human interaction.

The long-term effects of the pandemic obviously continue to dominate our narratives but, as we come to terms with what might now be here to stay, we see a new reaction to normal, being that anything can now be normal because anything is now normal!

It’s a time to focus on the not normal, not mainstream, not commercial. A time to mix it up and push the boundaries, our lives have become more flexible and unpredictable, more nomadic with the here to stay approach of flexible working, flexible living and flexible being.

But, with the need for something closer to home, we are also looking at both the ever-shrinking world and the at your fingertips mentality. We are amidst a time where we can push the boundaries, where we can really speak up, say what we think and be heard. It’s a time of huge flux, where technology and the digital age is becoming not only a presiding driver, but a dominant force in all aspects of daily life, we are forced to look at the interconnections between the real and unreal, the tangible and the digital and the connections they create in our everyday experiences.

Colour palettes are inspired by science, science fiction, artificial intelligence, and the juxtaposition of the clash with nature. With the ongoing global disquiet themes mimic a soft nod to hysteria and surveillance, collective experiences, and muddied perception of what’s real and what’s not.”

Here, Hannah shares just three of the design trends for 2022…

Sense of purpose

“Purpose unifies everything we have been talking about over the last few years and more so than ever in 2021/2022. On a global, national, and local scale but also, more prominently, on a personal one. Sustainability, social responsibility, climate change and many other important themes are at the forefront of the consumer’s mind. Purpose umbrellas all domineering issues under one theme. A time when we think about our purpose in every aspect of life, be it work, home or social. We will see both product and design capturing this theme across all manner of illustration.”

Above: A Clare Davis London reflecting the sense of purpose trend
Above: A Clare Davis London reflecting the sense of purpose trend

Vintage age 

“Partly due to increasing issues with supply chain shortages, the desire for vintage is set to grow and, with it, the appreciation of flaws, uniqueness, the effects of time and the beauty in things found, old or incomplete. With a nod to a new perspective on wellbeing which is less about being perfected and the realisation that actually, we don’t have to have it together all of the time. There is beauty in our flaws.”

Above: A Collen Harrington design on the vintage age theme
Above: A Collen Harrington design on the vintage age theme


“Travel continues to be a catalyst in design but, as the flexibility of life continues to dominate, travel is less perfected and more flexible. With travel comes culture, all things exotic, including print and pattern that we come across on our adventures. Along this theme we look at the opulent emergence of pattern on pattern.

According to Chinese philosophy 2022 is the Year Of The Tiger, an icon that has risen to fame in 2021 and will continue to do so with animal print motifs and delectable global fusions such as Japandi, an exciting emergence of Japanese/Scandi themes. The timing is perfect as the traits of the tiger are brave, competitive, unpredictable, and confident – all characteristics we all feel we need to harness after the last two years in order to succeed in the ongoing troubling climates.”

Above and top: The nomadic trend reflected in a Cathryn Weatherhead design
Above and top: The nomadic trend reflected in a Cathryn Weatherhead design
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